How do I start building a marketing budget?

Building a Small Business Marketing Budget – Part 1 of 5

Whether it’s for your own entrepreneurial endeavor or you are managing an organization’s marketing and business development initiatives, one of the most challenging tasks is building a realistic, affordable, and effective marketing plan.

The strategy and customer analysis came quickly, but the budget is often not as straightforward. We’ve compiled the top questions we get asked by business owners and marketing managers and will be addressing them over the next 5 weeks. The topics include:

Week 1: How do I start building a marketing budget?
Week 2: What percent of sales should I set aside for marketing and advertising?
Week 3: What should I include in my marketing budget?
Week 4: How do I prioritize a limited marketing budget?
Week 5: How do I measure ROI on my advertising tactics?

Let’s get started with Week 1…

Getting Started With Your Marketing Budget

Creating a marketing budget can be overwhelming. To start, we recommend using an annual calendar spreadsheet to organize your information. List the months along the top row, and down the first column on the left list activities or tactics. In the second, third, and fourth rows include any major event dates, promotions or sales, or other strategic items that will drive your marketing budget.

Start with the calendar of activities you want to accomplish, then once you have all the activities and priorities set in each month, duplicate that sheet. You’ll then turn the activities into dollar amounts in the month they occur to build your marketing budget.

Make sure to break those activities into categories, breaking your budget into easily digestible pieces of information such as “Online Marketing” or “Advertising and Sponsorships” or “Trade Shows.” It may take a few years of building marketing plans before a natural pattern starts to emerge. At Ampersand, we sort nearly all of our marketing calendars and budgets into the following major categories:

  • Strategy
  • General Branding
  • Collateral & Tools
  • Website/Online
  • Social Media
  • Google Pay Per Click
  • Public Relations
  • Drip Marketing
  • Sales Systems & Tools
  • Trade Shows/Events
  • Advertising & Sponsorships
  • Other Special Projects or Campaigns

In next week’s blog we’ll address “What percent of sales should I set aside for marketing and advertising?”

Heather Noel

Heather Noel

I love to think big thoughts and set big goals. But more than that, it’s been so rewarding to build a great team to help accomplish them.